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Song of the Week: Jamila Woods Lifts Us Up with Empowerment Jam “Giovanni”

on October 19, 2018, 3:40pm

Each week we break down our favorite song, highlight our honorable mentions, and wrap them all up with other staff recommendations into a playlist just for you. 

Jamila Woods’ new single, “Giovanni”, is a force of nature, a story of self-love and confidence in the face of adversity. “You got questions, I know that’s right/ There must be a reason why,” she sings, understanding the allure of her own talented mystique while keeping it for herself in the end. The song is a rhythmic marvel, ebbing and flowing between thumping beats and Woods’ impeccable flow between lines both spoken and sung. By the end of “Giovanni”, it has become an organism of some kind: Woods’ talent for imbuing each one of her songs with an individual and cinematic mood is evident in the woven effect present in the track, as it seems to breathe and move with each turn of phrase. The single is more than a declaration of Woods’ belief in herself, exploring her history, future, and past. “Giovanni” is a fantastic song to chill or dance to, but also serves as a clever, innovative look into the mind of an artist on the cutting edge of R&B.

–Clara Scott
Contributing Writer

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Honorable Mentions

Mick Jenkins and Kaytraynada – “Understood”

“Understood” finds Mick Jenkins stepping up his game with a whimsical Kaytranada collaboration, mulling over what it feels like to be understood against a guiding melody that sways and winds along its path. –Laura Dzubay

Soccer Mommy – “I’m on Fire”

Sophie Allison cuts a six-inch valley straight through the middle of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”, perfectly capturing the inherent emotional desperation and sadness of the song with her stripped-down production and wistful, melancholy vocals. –Laura Dzubay

Tenacious D – “Take Us into Space”

In addition to being rollicking, sex-fixated, and just plain fun, “Take Us Into Space” is also a genuinely good and impassioned rock song — a balance that speaks well of Tenacious D’s strengths as a duo. –Laura Dzubay

Bibi Bourelly – “Writer’s Song”

“Writer’s Song” is a masterful translation of feeling for anyone who has found themselves feeling self-conscious in a creative situation: minimalist both in sound and in length, Bibi Bourelly’s single demonstrates the frustrations of artistic pressure within a piece of music that is, in fact, wonderfully well written itself. –Laura Dzubay

Speedy Ortiz – “DTMFA”

When hard-edged guitars and Sadie Dupuis’ sweetly fluctuating vocals come into play, it’s hard not to agree with the cheerful condemnation that is Speedy Ortiz’s “DTMFA” and equally difficult to ignore the song’s playfully imploring message: Just “dump the motherfucker already.” –Laura Dzubay

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Other Songs We’re Spinning

Elvis Costello – “Under Lime”

Not only does “Under Lime” demonstrate Elvis Costello’s uncanny ability to match his songwriting sensibilities to almost any musical genre you can name, but it also exemplifies just how layered and textured his new songs off Look Now are — the type where a new detail, or several, gets discovered with every additional listen. –Matt Melis 

Kurt Vile – “Hysteria”

On “Hysteria”, Kurt Vile builds a tale of surreal love and its hazy effects, tossing between the reality of his feelings for the song’s subject and self-doubt, at one point even comparing the infectious quality of new romance to rabies: and he “don’t mean maybe.” –Clara Scott

Charles Bradley – “Can’t Fight the Feeling”

Most of us got to know Charles Bradley, “the screaming eagle of soul,” far too late and had to say goodbye much too soon, but a track like “Can’t Fight the Feeling”, in all its raw and ragged emotion, reminds us of why every moment of that acquaintance is treasured. –Matt Melis 

Joyce Manor – “Big Lie”

One of many highlights on Joyce Manor’s new album, Million Dollars to Kill Me, “Big Lie” is self-accusatory and honest, full of deftly crafted, diary-esque lyrics and vivid scenery anchored around a strong guitar hook. –Laura Dzubay

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This Week’s Playlist

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